Service Members honored in Camden during memorial service

CAMDEN, NJ (WTXF) - Dozens of our service members who made the ultimate sacrifice were honored during a special ceremony. 

FOX 29's Brad Sattin was in Camden for a memorial service honoring family members who know first-hand just how high the price of freedom really is.

One by one, 105 names were read of American service members from Camden County killed in action in the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

And. among them, Alfina Mann's son Marine Corps 1st Lt. Jason Mann

“My son is in my memory every day. And in my heart. And I miss him every day,” she told FOX 29.

Memorial Day for her, isn't about going down the shore.

“It's a matter of remembering the soldiers that were lost. Not just my Jason, but all of those young men and women,” Mann said.

She and other Gold Star Families were honored today for their sacrifices. Maureen and Thomas Pagano lost their son Gregory in Iraq 8 years ago.  Thomas worries for the veterans who did come home, but didn’t come home complete.

“We sacrificed our son but we can't do anything about that. What we have to take care of is the people that are here, the people that have sacrificed and are still here that are in need." Maureen Pagano said.

Honored today was Sgt. Glenn Baker who served in Vietnam 50 years ago. He spent his entire life serving veterans as they returned home.  But can't help but think of his friends who didn't, and never got to experience the past 50 years.

“You ask yourself, what would their lives have been? What contributions would they have made had they survived,” Baker said,

From Arlington National Cemetery to here at the Camden County Veterans Cemetery, each headstone of a fallen service member represents a story that was never finished.

"Each of those is life lost, families that weren't built, of memories that are no longer," Baker said.

Flags now wave at the gravesites of more than 1500 veterans.  On Memorial Day, another 26,000 will be placed at veterans graves across the county, a reminder, that even if it's just for a moment on this holiday weekend, to pause, and honor them for a sacrifice that can never be repaid.

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